How a feathered friend could enrichen your life

1. Ex-commercial hens in particular make wonderful pets for first time chicken owners. They are a relatively inexpensive pet once their initial needs have been catered for, they’re incredibly grateful (well you would be if the alternative was slaughter, wouldn’t you?), they all develop their own personalities and are very therapeutic to have around. They’re often described as cats and dogs with feathers. They also come with the full range of vaccinations, having been through the rigorous commercial flock regulations. 

2. The feelgood factor you get from saving a hen’s life keeps people coming back time and time again for more. Some hens can be a bit threadbare in the feather department and each time you spot a new feather growing back, or your girls do something funny for the first time you’ll be reminded of just what you’ve given them – the chance to free range, and enjoy life. 

Great British Life: Relaxing at home with hen's best friendRelaxing at home with hen's best friend (Image: British Hen Welfare Trust)

3. So many people speak of the mental health benefits that come with keeping chickens, from their gentle chatter to sitting watching them potter about in the garden. They’re a wonderful time waster and a great way of unwinding after a stressful day at the office. 

4. Not many pets can teach children about where food comes from, but chickens can. Keeping hens is a great way to not only get children involved in the day-to-day care of another creature, but discovering a freshly laid egg in the nest box is almost guaranteed to bring about a squeal of delight. Taking it into the kitchen and cooking it for breakfast is a great way of nurturing a greater understanding of the connection between animals and food 

5. If you’re rehoming hens, it’s not guaranteed they will lay a daily egg – they are in retirement after all. But, with a little TLC and a good nutritious diet, there’s no reason why these hens can’t pop out a few eggs a week for you and your family to enjoy. They really will be the best eggs you’ve ever tasted. 

The British Hen Welfare Trust has rehomed more than 900,000 hens that have been rescued from slaughter since it was founded in 2007. To find out more, go to 

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